Earthquake Preparedness

Great British Columbia ShakeOut - October 15 at 10:15 a.m.

Coquitlam is also encouraging residents, schools and businesses to join in the Great British Columbia ShakeOut – the largest earthquake drill in B.C. – on October 15 at 10:15 a.m.

Organized by the BC Earthquake Alliance Society, ShakeOut BC provides you with opportunities to practice the "Drop, Cover and Hold On" earthquake protocol and to help prepare for an earthquake at home, school, office, or on the road.

Each year approximately 4,000 earthquakes are recorded in Canada, many in the seismically active region around B.C. Most register as a small magnitude but at least nine earthquakes over the past century in or near Canada have registered a magnitude of seven or more.

In general, people who are prepared for a major disaster will suffer fewer injuries and less property damage, and will be better equipped to care for themselves afterwards as authorities work to restore services

How to Participate

Visit www.shakeoutbc.ca to register as a participant and download resources (including sound effects to play during the drill and emergency preparation information). 

At 10:15 a.m. on October 15, practice the “Drop, Cover and Hold On’ protocol:

  • Drop to the ground,
  • Take cover by getting under a desk/table (or cover your face and head with your arms and crouch in an inside corner of the building), and
  • Hold on for 60 seconds. During this time, look around and imagine what would happen during an earthquake. What could fall down on you or be damaged? Make note of tasks to conduct after the drill, (e.g. anchor large furniture pieces).
  • After the drill, practice what you will do after the shaking stops.

Each year, about 5,000 earthquakes are recorded in Canada – many of these in the seismically active region around B.C. Most are small, but at least nine earthquakes in or near Canada have registered a magnitude of seven or more in the past century.

A magnitude six earthquake could do extensive damage in Coquitlam. Individuals who are prepared for a major disaster will suffer fewer injuries and less property damage, and be better equipped to care for themselves afterwards as authorities work to restore services.

Follow these tips to develop an emergency plan for your family:

  • Do a “hazard hunt” for items that might fall during earthquakes, and secure them.
  • Make your home safe by eliminating or securing household items that can cause injury and damage.
  • Assemble a Home Emergency Kit for family members in a portable container (minimum 3 day supply) and store it in an accessible location (e.g. near an exit). Don’t forget to include the specific requirements of children, pets and others with special needs. Check out our 26 Weeks to Emergency Preparedness checklist to assist you in pulling together a complete kit that can help your household remain self-sufficient for 72 hours following a disaster.
  • Know how to shut off utilities at the source to ensure immediate closing of gas and water leaks.
  • Know where and how to shut off electrical power when required.
  • Ensure your family has an evacuation plan from your home that includes a safe family meeting place and ensure all family members know the plan. (
  • Arrange an out-of-area contact person and make sure each family member has that person’s numbers with them all the time by completing an out-of-area contact card.
  • Choose an emergency contact who lives outside our province who will not be affected by a major event, such as an earthquake. 
  • Make copies of important documents (i.e. insurance, medical records, wills, etc.) and store them in a safe location that is accessible even if your home is damaged.
  • Keep a flashlight and hard-soled shoes beside each family member’s bed so during an emergency evacuation, it is easier to navigate at night.
  • Assemble a Grab-and-Go Kit with emergency supplies that you store in your vehicle and/or at work.
  • Always maintain a ¼ tank of gas in your vehicle.
  • Plan and practice the Drop, Cover and Hold On procedure with your family members, so you know how to protect yourself during an earthquake:
    • Drop to the floor;
    • Take cover by getting under a sturdy desk or table; and
    • Hold on until the shaking stops. If you are unable to get down on the ground, brace yourself against an interior wall, protecting your head, neck and face with your arms.